Adorable osplets at Port Lincoln and more news in Bird World

19 September 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

Oh, goodness. The sky is the most beautiful blue this morning without a single cloud. The tree tops have been kissed and they are all turning slightly golden but, we have not yet had a frost. Decades ago, there was always a frost in August and people lost their tomatoes still growing in the gardens. This year the mint has eclipsed its pot and the tomatoes are still growing and turning red. Thankfully, my three-year old neighbour loves those little grape tomatoes – there were 1000s this year!

Dyson has already arrived along with the Blue Jays who let me know that there are absolutely no peanuts to be had. It was the first time that I really examined those nuts. No wonder the Jays are picky eaters. Some of those nuts are not good – dry or with only one peanut. I don’t blame them for giving them a shake to find the fullest heaviest one.

Scraggles loves peanuts and always tries to take two! Notice her tail. It is growing back after she used part of it for her nest this summer.

Dyson looks great. Her tail has grown in and it is so nice to see her in the garden every day. Dyson stayed and ate quite a few nuts before leaving with a couple. It is so good to see her looking so well. It is hoped that by providing good food and water the animals might live better and longer.

In the Mailbox:

A number of you have asked: “What happened to the old Mum at 367 Collins Street?”

That is a question on probably hundreds of mines watching that scrape. The old Mum had a really formidable face but she was a great female and raised many eyases. Mum and Dad had been there since 2016 so, like Dad, she was at least 8 or 9 years old with the average life expectancy of six years according to Victor Hurley. So let us rewind for a minute. Last year the camera went off right when the 4th chick died of trichomonosis.

Trichomoniasis is a disease that is transmitted between birds through direct contact and therefore can spread relatively easily. One characteristic of this disease is the lesions that will present on your bird’s crop and esophagus. Trichomoniasis is a disease caused by the protozoa trichomonas gallinae. This condition is highly contagious among birds. There is a loss of appetite and general inability to eat, they have difficulty standing and keeping their balance, etc. This year we saw the female at the Janakkulum Osprey nest in Finland contract what was believed to be trichomonosis and probably died. Luckily her two chicks did not contract the disease. I mention this disease because it is possible that the Mum did get trichomonosis.

The other possibilities include dying naturally from old age, severe injury or death caused by the urban environment, severe injury or death caused by the new female or another female.

Sadly, the camera was off and we have no clues. Indeed, what happened to the female might have taken place on the other side of Melbourne. We miss her and Dad together and the stability on the ledge. The life of an urban falcon is difficult at best and even more so when we have grown to love them as individuals.

“What is going to happen to the egg shells at Port Lincoln. Why doesn’t Mum get rid of them?” This certainly is a question on a lot of people’s minds as we sit and wait for the third hatch. It is a very good question, too!

The females make the egg shells using calcium from their bodies. As a result, their calcium levels are lower. Some females eat the egg shells to help replenish their stocks while others will kick the shells out of the nest or just allow them to break up and become part of the nest. At 0:40:40 Mum at Port Lincoln is seen eating some of the small pieces of egg under the chick.

In the News:

‘N’ sent me a lovely article and it is so appropriate – the challenges that urban raptors face appeared in The New York Times. It is a good read and continues to remind us of the importance of the wildlife rehabbers that care for the raptors we love after they leave the nest. I wonder what the gender % is at wildlife clinics? The ones where I live are more than 90% women, like those in this story. Thank you ‘N’ for sharing with us.

A Scottish Osprey, Glen, misjudged GPS for migration and wound up on two ships!

Nest News:

The second osplet hatched at 19:11:32 at Port Lincoln. The third is working on making its appearance. Here are a myriad of shots from yesterday. It is amazing just how strong the first hatch is. I have not counted how many feedings that chick has had. Mum is hungry and Dad is getting the fish to the nest. Adorable Dad. He has gotten to see the babies and Mum looks tired. Perhaps it was only because she went without any fish for so long while Big Bob was hatching.

Dad was drying off after being out fishing. Thanks, Dad, for all the fish!

What a beautiful picture with the sun shining down. It is lovely to see Dad and Mum on the nest with the new hatch. I guess Dad has news for Ervie now!

Oh, this first hatch always wants to eat. I sure hope it is nice to its siblings and shares.

Snug as bugs in a rub those two osplets are!

Rumour has it that Little Bob is making good progress. Oh, I hope so. Big Bob has eaten so much s/he will be twice as big by the time little one gets out of that shell.

‘A’ writes that SE30 has managed to get the good prey items but has, in turn, shared with 29. Fantastic. What a wonderful civil nest this has turned out to be – very similar to the last two years. I do have a warm spot for those Sea Eagles. Lady and Dad have done a fantastic job with these two!

While the little sea eaglets were having their breakfast, Xavier was trying his best to get Diamond to get up off the eggs so he could have some time and she could have her breakfast. Diamond was buying it! Poor Xavier went off to the ledge dejected.

I really hope that all is well at Melbourne. This morning, if you listen, you can hear one of the males calling from the ledge out of view of the camera and I saw a feather fly into the air. Breakfast for Mum is being provided by someone — and I hope it is old Dad. It would be good for him to raise his eggs!

I wish I could capture the feathers flying.

A male flies in to relieve Mum. I have not been able to get a good look to see which it is.

He will give us no clues. I hope that someone grabs a quick look when he leaves. But let us all send warm wishes to this nest for a successful outcome. We are a week from hatch.

On the Bookshelf:

This book is from Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkemp who brought us the book, Beauty and the Beak. The pair combine the stories of raptor rescues into moving tales. If you are a science teacher or have children aged 7-11 both of the books are for you. They are filled with information and amazing images – really good ones – along with stimulating ideas for students at the end. This one is about a nest that was blown down and the fostering of two little osplets from Idaho where Veltkemp has her practice. Thinking of holiday book gifts already? This is a good one!

Thank you so very much for joining me today. Everything appears to be going splendidly at the nests. Port Lincoln is going to be busy today. Remember the feedings occur almost every hour so you will be in luck during the daylight hours whenever you sign on. Take care all.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: The New York Times, Port Lincoln Ospreys, 367 Collins Street by Mirvac, Charles Sturt Falcon Cam, and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre Sydney Olympic Park.


  1. Alison says:

    Watching this morning’s happenings in Collins St, I certainly saw the feathers you mention (lots of them!), which is a little worrying. What did you think of what happened at 6:43:10? While mum is on the nest, another falcon flies directly at the scrape and then turns at the very last moment and veers away. That falcon was definitely not last year’s dad. There has been a lot of vocalising from the other end of the ledge (eg from 6:59:45 onwards), in response to which mum sometimes runs along the ledge towards that falcon and other times just vocalises but stays on the nest. I am wondering if we have some vocals from dad last year to compare with the ‘e-chups’ from the far end of that ledge this year. That may help identify who’s doing what. What time did one of the males relieve mum for a spot of incubating? I couldn’t find it.

    1. Those feathers were, I believe, a pigeon being plucked for the Mum’s dinner. Everything coordinated with that being the old dad – the dad of the eggs – and not the youngster trying as it might to cause problems – and he will if he gets near the eggs of that other male. I wish he would go away! Thank you for all of your notes, Alison. I read all of them. Male 2 wants the female and the territory. So far the old male is not making gestures to get rid of him but I want to wait. Dad is helping Mum and let us hope that this ends well and not with a horrible take over.

      1. Alison says:

        I agree that it is definitely the old male providing the food, as Mum runs (well, waddles rapidly) down the ledge to meet him. When the new male is at the far end of the ledge, he makes courting ‘e-chups’ and she is making her ‘kak kak’ (I want things to change immediately!) vocals. Trying to mate with a female while she is brooding a clutch of eggs is pretty aggressive – I think he turned away from the ledge in that incident you photographed because she was sitting with her back to the wall so he was unable to land on her and mount her as he has done previously. You mentioned that male ospreys will kick another male’s eggs out of the nest. Do you have any idea how this new male may react to the eyases when they hatch? Is he a danger to them?

      2. Oh, kick. You should see those male Ospreys. They throw a right fit! I will try and find a video and post it one day soon. Normally the female has mated with another male thinking her male was not showing up. Oh, gracious. They can tell if those eggs are theirs or those of another male. The new male is a danger to the eyases. So far, the old male and Mum have been able to manage and keep her fed and just let him be a pest but, we will have to wait and see how this plays out. The worst thing would be that the old male would be injured or killed and no one to bring prey to the female and the chicks perish. The new male could decide to be a good guy but, that is difficult to ascertain at this moment. We live in hope.

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks for the updates Mary Ann. First of all thanks for the photos of Dyson. So adorable. Congratulations to Port Lincoln’s second hatch. Everytime I went to look Mom was on the nest and I never got to see them today. 💕💕 sure hope Dad brings in a lots of fish and that Wrvie gets to see them as he passes over !❤️
    Worrisome at Melbourne. Prayers 🙏
    Thanks Mary Ann and I look forward to the newsletter tomorrow.
    Have a good evening !

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